Working from home isn’t the way of the future ––it’s the way of the present! Indeed, millions of employees already work remotely at least some of the time. And all small businesses need to have a work-from-home policy in place as they get started. Otherwise, they could risk losing out on talented individuals who may prefer other organizations that allow them to work from home on a regular basis.
As important as it is for companies to accommodate remote employees, having team members work from home consistently can cause logistical problems. With that in mind, here are six tips for implementing a work-from-home policy that benefits your staff without compromising overall productivity:
Set a Regimen for Your Work-from-home Policy
Most professionals thrive under a routine. After all, employees enjoy getting comfortable with their surroundings and their coworkers. As such, it’s important to establish a regimen in regard to your work-from-home policy.
A laissez-faire approach may not work because it could cause confusion in your ranks. You wouldn’t want a team member spending hours trying to get in touch with someone who wasn’t even at the office. Setting aside designated days for working from home can help avoid this sort of inefficiency.
Obviously, managers can’t spend every minute of their day checking in on remote employees. Yet, it is important for them to establish a culture of accountability.
Remote workers can get distracted, and may not operate at peak efficiency without proper management. To ensure that everyone on your team is doing their best, set up accountability checks during the week or month as needed. That way, you’ll know if any employees are falling behind and will be able to take the steps you need to get everyone back on the right track.
Communication and collaboration are essential to business success. Plain and simple, no company will thrive if its team members don’t talk with each other and share ideas effectively. Having a lot of remote employees can make it more difficult for employees to collaborate, though.
To combat this, business owners can explore a few different tactics. First, they can invest in communications technology, like chat platforms, video-conferencing tools, headphones, etc. Beyond that, though, scheduling team meetings for remote team members will encourage them to bring up their thoughts.
Lastly – if at all possible – consider requiring remote employees to come into the office from time to time. Having the occasional face-to-face staff meeting can alleviate a number of communication breakdowns.
The whole point of a work-from-home policy is to boost employee productivity and morale. For that reason, it’s imperative for business leaders to solicit honest feedback from their team members about the policy.
Maybe you’re affording your employees too much time out of the office and that’s negatively affecting company culture. Or perhaps your proposed plan doesn’t offer enough time working at home to satisfy key personnel.
Regardless, the only way to know if your work-from-home policy is running smoothly is to talk to the people on the frontlines ––namely, your employees!
Don’t be Afraid to Adjust Your Work-from-home Policy
To elaborate on our previous point, business owners shouldn’t hesitate to shake up their work-from-home policy if it’s causing more problems than it’s solving. Altering course in this regard won’t make you look weak or ineffectual. Rather, your staff will appreciate you taking action to protect the viability of the company.
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to go about managing remote team members, so play it by ear to a degree. Customize your policy to fit the needs of your team and your business.
Educate Your Staff on a Regular Basis
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that employees who learn new skills and gain new knowledge will improve over time. Unfortunately, not all business leaders prioritize educating their staff. And that goes double for remote workers.
Never forget to share educational resources with your team members. This could mean forwarding a relevant study from a company like Helixa, passing along a tech update from one of your partners, for example.
In any case, keeping your team up-to-date on the happenings in your field is simply a must. At the end of the day, the more you focus on your work-from-home policy, the better your company will perform in the long run.